Harry Whitehorse Art
Bayview Community Foundation Sculpture

Click here to view an archive of pictures of the Bayview Community Foundation Sculpture-In-Progress

The Bayview Story-A Place Where Families Can Grow

From a pamphlet authored and published by the Bayview Community Foundation

At the turn of the century, Sicilian and Italian immigrants moved to Madison in search of a better life. Looking for a place to live where they could be close to each other and carry one the traditions of their native land, they moved to a swampy marsh off Monona Bay, an area which had resisted development because no one wanted to live there.

No strangers to adversity, the immigrants filled in the marsh using hand tools and effort to move the dirt. Houses, shops, and churches began to grow in the transplanted soil.

As blacks from the rural South and immigrants from other countries arrived, the former swamp became home to as many as fourteen different ethnic groups. Residents fondly referred to the neighborhood as the "Bush" after the Greenbush plat on which is was located. At its heart was a triangle of land bordered by West Washington Avenue and Regent and Park Streets.

Children grew up and got married. Parents became grandparents. Two World Wars were fought and still the community flourished. Buy by the end of the 1950s, the decision to dismantle the Greenbush has already been made. In the name of urban renewal, the families were moved, the houses razed, and a community was split apart.

By the early 1970s, the Greenbush had been rebuilt into apartments for retirees, the disabled, and those of low income. Bayview was one of two complexes built for families.

The first few years were not without their problems. But by the early 1980s, Bayview was on a path that married sound fiscal management with an innovative approach to human services.

This unique approach focuses on developing the family through cultural pride, education, and arts appreciation. It relies on a network of organizations, individuals, and Bayview staff and Board of Directors committed to continuously improving programs in order to meet the changing needs of families as they grow and develop.

Service providers and staff are given the freedom and support to develop programs that meet resident needs and also address issues of importance to the larger community.

Whether it's the publication of refugee experiences in our newsletter, the showcasing of cultures in the Annual Triangle Ethnic Fest, or the Call For Peace international tours to Freiberg, Germany and Russia down the Volga River, Bayview's influence extends far beyond the old Bush.

In spite of this far-ranging outreach, Bayview maintains its mission of family development. In the last eight years, over half of the families moving out of Bayview have purchased their own homes. Residents have distinguished themselves as business owners, community leaders, university students, and cultural educators. Whether in the high schools, the university, or the local community, Bayview residents make Madison a better place to live.

Bayview also maintains its multi-ethnic roots. Eight-six percent of Bayview households are headed by adults born outside the U.S.A. These families represent the Hmong culture along with the cultures of Laos, Mexico, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Columbia, China, and several African countries. Both African Americans and Native Americans also live at Bayview.

In 1996, Bayview celebrated a second story addition to the community center. Reflecting our global outreach and cultural influences, the name of the center was officially changed to the Bayview International Center for Education and the Arts. Along with an increase in office and meeting space, the second story added a large practice room especially designed for dance. The space has enabled Bayview to host a number of small conferences and workshops as well as provide practice space for a wide variety of ethnic dance groups.

Bayview is many things to many people. For the greater Madison community it is a place to practice dance and other arts, a place to meet, a place to attend workshops, but most of all, it is a place to learn and celebrate the artistry of the world's cultures. For our residents, it is home and a place where they are supported in realizing their dreams through education, the arts, and cultural pride. For everyone, Bayview is a place where families can grow.